Bel Air High School students now have a fast track to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, thanks to a partnership between the Ysleta Independent School District, El Paso Community College and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.
Bel Air students who enroll in the program will be given conditional acceptance to the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing’s Accelerated B.S.N. program. By taking prerequisite college courses while in high school with EPCC dual credit courses, they will be on track to earn their B.S.N. in just 16 months after high school graduation.
“We are honored to join Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and El Paso Community College to provide a new pathway toward a college degree for our motivated Health Professions students at Bel Air High School,” said Xavier De La Torre, Ph.D., superintendent of schools at the Ysleta Independent School District.
“As we continue to make advancements in technology and innovation, it is apparent that high school graduation is no longer the finish line for many of our students,” De La Torre said. “This is why it is so important for YISD to provide not only relevant and rigorous instruction in core academic subjects, but career and technical training that students need to compete in the global workforce.”
Bel Air is the first YISD school to participate in the early-admission nursing program. Franklin High School and Maxine Silva Health Magnet High School in the El Paso Independent School District also offer the early-admission nursing program.
Manny Santa Cruz, D.N.P., M.B.A., R.N., assistant dean at the Hunt School of Nursing, said participating students can take all of their required university prerequisites while in high school and earn an Associate of Arts Degree through our program partner El Paso Community College.
“Our vision at the Hunt School of Nursing is to create the future of the local nursing workforce by providing seamless pathways to a B.S.N. degree for the entire El Paso community,” Santa Cruz said. “With college dual-credit conferred by El Paso Community College, we can now make this a reality for high school programs.”
Bel Air students interested in pursuing the path to an accelerated B.S.N. would need to start taking the college courses during their freshman year of high school.
“The B.S.N. pathway for YISD students at Bel Air is yet another example of the strong collaboration El Paso Community College has with our K-12 and university partners in the region,” said Tonie Badillo, dean of the Dual Credit and Early College High Schools program at El Paso Community College. “We are hopeful that this carefully developed pipeline will help meet workforce demands.”
These partnerships help TTUHSC El Paso address critical, statewide nursing shortages. By 2022, about 20,000 registered nurses will be needed in Texas, with a shortage of nearly 3,000 nurses in West Texas alone.
The Hunt School of Nursing is working to bring the early-admission nursing program to high schools in the Canutillo and Socorro Independent School Districts.